Bad Dogs, Good Stuff

JOE MURRAY

June 15, 1993|By JOE MURRAY

ANGELINA COUNTY, TEXAS — Angelina County, Texas.--Ever since one of the dogs attacked the visiting congressman, succeeding in getting one good bite on his leg before I could intervene, the situation, if anything, has worsened:

* One of the dogs attacked a rented video cassette, succeeding in eating up most of the plastic cover before I could intervene.

* One of the dogs attacked the wolf skin rug in the little house where I write, succeeding in eating up several paws before I could intervene.

* One of the dogs attacked my car CD player, a shoe box-size, plastic apparatus in the back of my jeep, succeeding in eating up a good-size chunk of one corner before I could intervene.

What's a man to do when bad dogs happened to good stuff? They're eating me out of house and home furnishings.

I don't know what got them started. I guess when they saw how easy it was to bite a congressman, everything else was open season. It's bad on me and worse on the turtles.

Along with everything else, the dogs are in a battle for turf with the turtles that frequent the little creek beyond the back yard. The dogs are winning, 6-0.

That's how many turtles I've found, a half-dozen, deposited on the porch, on their backs. The dogs capture them, and then don't know what to do with them. Turtles, evidently, aren't as supple as CD players. In this dog-eat-dog world, their tortoise shell renders them pretty much immune.

What the dogs have been doing is turning in the turtles for rewards. I find one of them, from one day to the next, flipped upside down outside the door, hardly any worse for what they've been through.

What I do is wait until the dogs aren't looking, then tote the turtle back to the creek and set it free. ''Run for your life,'' I tell the turtles. But turtles don't listen.

That's why I've begun marking them with a red felt-tip pen, dabbing a check or an X or a dot on the top of their shells. I want to make sure those dogs aren't turning in the same turtle over and over.

John The Dog, incidentally, is the one who bit the congressman. I've since had a fence constructed in the back yard, connecting to the deck so that he has a nice shady place to snooze. John The Dog spends most of his days in the fence. At night he sleeps in the house. It's nice for him, and we don't have to bother bolting the doors.

I heard him saying his prayers the other night: ''God bless all the dogs -- Peanut and Maggie, Jag and Buster. And God, please send me a meter reader . . . ''

I'd asked earlier for suggestions on how to break a bad dog from biting. A fellow wrote me that when he was a boy and delivering newspapers, he'd douse his britches legs with Tabasco. He said the hot sauce served to repel dogs.

I'm not so sure. I use Tabasco on most everything I eat. I feed the dogs most everything that I have left over. You might as well put ketchup or steak sauce on your leg. I think John The Dog would appreciate it.

Joe Murray is editor-publisher emeritus of the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News.

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